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Thread: NASCAR News 2007

  1. #31

    Roush No. 6 Cup hauler involved in injury crash
    February 1, 2007
    09:18 AM EST

    Two Roush Racing employees were injured in a multi-vehicle accident Wednesday morning 85 miles east of El Paso, Texas.

    Justin Grebe, the driver of the No. 6 Roush Racing Nextel Cup transporter, was treated and released from Thomason Hospital. Driving partner Joe Millikan, a passenger, is in stable condition in the Thomason Hospital intensive care unit. The two were returning to Concord, N.C., from the recently concluded test session at Las Vegas.

    According to local news reports, two other people also were taken to Thomason Hospital after suffering non life-threatening injuries.

    The cause of the crash, which involved three tractor-trailers and a mobile home in Sierra Blanca, Texas, has not been determined.

    Millikan is a former NASCAR driver who made 78 Cup starts from 1979 through 1986, compiling 10 top-fives and 38 top-10s. His best season was in 1979, when he posted 20 top-10s in 31 starts and finished sixth in points behind Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Cale Yarborough and Benny Parsons.

    The accident occurred on Interstate 10 at about 9:15 a.m. local time, near the Border Patrol checkpoint.

    According to Border Patrol officials at the checkpoint, the hauler struck a motorhome, which then struck another 18-wheeler that then struck a second tractor-trailer.

    Jesse Bear, a truck driver who witnessed the scene, told ABC-7 TV in El Paso the tractor-trailer struck a motor home in the rear. Bear added there were "a few other vehicles in the wreck, but everything was crushed together."

    According to ABC-7 reporter Darren Hunt, the front part of the rig's cab was completely torn off.

    Emergency crews with Culberson and Hudspeth counties in Texas, and the city of Fort Hancock, Texas, all responded to the scene of the accident.

    The collision shut down eastbound traffic on I-10 for nearly five hours.

    Roush Racing will provide additional details as they become available.

  2. #32
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Jr. Wants Majority Stock in DEI

    It's going to be an interesting year at DEI.
    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The two-month, ongoing soap opera surrounding the negotiations and relationship between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his stepmother Teresa Earnhardt took a dramatic turn Thursday.

    Junior made a startling pronouncement during his media day interview that made it clear why his contract negotiations with Dale Earnhardt Inc. have plodded along.

    "I want majority ownership, that's basically it," Earnhardt said. "I want more than 50 percent, absolutely."

    It's as simple as that.

    "The main factor is the ownership part," Junior said. "It has nothing to do with money or nothing else, really. I really like my team, I like the way things are going, Max [Max Siegel, DEI president of global operations for DEI] is going to be great for the company, the motors are improving.

    "Everything's on the upswing, but my father's been gone for five, six years now, so I want majority ownership."

    Teresa Earnhardt has removed herself from negotiations, leaving Siegel and DEI vice president of racing operations Richie Gilmore to try and craft a contract with Dale Jr. and his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge.

    So is Teresa willing to budge on the ownership issue?

    "We'll see," Junior said, smirking.

    What reporters saw Thursday was seemingly the next step in the evolution of Earnhardt as a shrewd businessman, much like his father and, his step-mother. He knows the value of his name, his bloodline and the legacy that he tries to live up to, so his thinking is he should get what he feels is truly his.

    That's why he's been particularly forthcoming with the media in the last month about the ongoing negotiations for a new contract at DEI. In a sense, Teresa Earnhardt fired the first salvo in the war in mid-December when she questioned Junior's commitment to the team and the sport in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

    Those comments cut to Junior's core.

    "It was a little like, 'low blow there,' for me," he said.

    Even though he's said several times he didn't want the contract situation to be played out on newspaper pages or on the 10 p.m. sportscast, he also knew that the media ultimately could do more for him in his quest than he could do sitting across from Teresa Earnhardt at a negotiating table.

    "I tried to do good and stay professional in my comments," Earnhardt said. "I tried to portray my feelings to [the media] but try to keep the bitterness out of it. At times, you get bitter. But being the younger guy in the whole mess, I tried to stay professional.

    "I've actually taken a lot of that stuff [media reports] to help form my position and opinion. You don't like public opinion or media opinion to sway your decisions, but in this case, I have a real bad habit of being way too modest about my position in the sport and a lot of people, including the media, helped me understand what I'm actually worth."

    Junior might be learning his worth, but his position actually might not be all that formed. Only minutes before proclaiming he wanted a majority stake in DEI, Earnhardt Jr. all but dismissed any desire to ever be a team owner on the Nextel Cup circuit.

    "I really don't want the headaches of being a Cup owner," said Earnhardt, who has owned a Busch Series team for three years. "I'd just assume drive, save as much money as I can and retire. I want to race a long, long, long, long time. The older I get, the better I feel better about my ability to compete longer, not run into the burnout part and just wanting to get out of it.

    "But once I'm done driving, I really don't want to do anything else as far as ownership. That may change. As I get older, it might turn into something."

    In the meantime

    Regardless of ownership status, Earnhardt intends on going out Feb. 18 – the sixth anniversary of his father's death at Daytona – and win his second Daytona 500 as a possible precursor to finally winning the Nextel Cup championship.

    But when asked if he grows more concerned with each passing year that comes and goes without that coveted title, Earnhardt intimated that the Cup championship isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all.

    If, like Mark Martin, Earnhardt goes through his entire career without winning the title, he's OK with that. But he also understands what a title would mean to his legacy, his critics and fans.

    "Probably, in a lot of people's eyes, it would help a lot to validate my career, but me personally, I won't carry any burden with me if I don't," said a particularly conversational and open Earnhardt. "As a race car driver, I come in here and I compete. Winning the championship is the ultimate goal and I go as hard as I can for it. I haven't done it yet, but I try to do the right things to win it."

    He spoke at length that just being where he is today – a successful driver, albeit one who has yet to win the sport's biggest prize – is much further along in the sport than he ever envisioned he'd be.

    "I didn't ever think I'd be good enough to race full-time, I didn't ever think I'd be good enough to hold down a job as a driver, I didn't think I'd ever win a race in the Cup level. I just never thought I was going to make it," Earnhardt said. "I looked around and people that had followed their father's footsteps into this sport [had] limited success in that.

    "So, I just never counted on it. I had no goals set as a driver. Then I raced late models and never won anything. It was basically a hobby."

    But he has found success with DEI, the company his father established in 1996 primarily for Junior and his brother and sisters.

    Now the former military school student has gone on to become NASCAR's most popular driver four years in a row and succeed his late father as the face of the sport – whether he wanted to or not – so it's understandable that he wants a controlling interest in DEI.

    This is Junior's time, in his mind, to take the reins.

    "I've already accomplished more than I ever thought I would. I've shook hands and met people and went places and done things that I never thought I'd see or do," he said. "I have quite a lot of fond memories of my career up to this point already, and I don't even think I'm halfway yet.

    "I've got a lot of years left on focusing on winning that championship, and hopefully it does happen."

  3. #33
    Swinging in the hammock Ilikai's Avatar
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    So when exactly does he want control of DEI? Now? Five years down the road? That part isn't clear. If he wants it now, he is basically trying to kick his stepmom out of the picture and I don't see her relinquishing the reins just now, without some type of retirement pension. Big E said Teresa helped him hammer out that business so she does have a very legit claim to running it.
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  4. #34
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Yates to retire after this year

    From Jayski's.
    Yates to turn over Cup team to son Doug in 2008: Robert Yates [owner of #38 & #88 teams in Cup] plans to turn over the running of his Nextel Cup organization to his son, Doug, after this season. This will be Yates' 40th season in the industry since beginning with Holman-Moody in 1967. "We're giving it a shot so this year I can quit while I'm ahead," Yates said on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. "Hopefully, I can quit and get in the rocking chair and watch Doug do what he's going to do for the next 20 years." Yates added that Jack Roush's decision to sell 50% of Roush Racing to John Henry and Fenway Sports Group in Boston -- an official announcement will be made Wednesday -- will only strengthen the engine program he shares with Roush. Yates said he will own 50% of the engine program, with Roush and Fenway Sports Group getting 25% each.(ESPN.com)(2-11-2007)

  5. #35
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Michael Waltrip's Toyota impounded at Daytona

    Waltrip's getting off on the wrong foot isn't he?
    February 11, 2007

    By Bruce Martin SportsTicker Contributing Editor

    DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (Ticker) - Cheating returned to the Daytona 500, with Michael Waltrip and new manufacturer Toyota calling unwanted attention to themselves.

    NASCAR officials confiscated Waltrip's Toyota Camry after Sunday's qualifications. A substance was found inside the car that NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton termed "highly unusual."

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    A sample was sent to NASCAR's research and development center in Concord, North Carolina for testing. The intake manifold had a coating on the inside that NASCAR officials thought was mysterious.

    "Our inspector caught a substance inside that we really didn't know what it was," Pemberton said.

    NASCAR vice president Jim Hunter said officials will conduct a detailed inspection of the car and its engine over the next two days.

    Earlier, NASCAR officials took the intake manifold from Waltrip's Car during inspections prior to the three-hour time trials. Waltrip was allowed to make a qualification attempt but ceded possession of the car afterward.

    "When they felt down inside of it there was some oil in the intake oil in a couple of places where it doesn't belong," Waltrip said in a TV interview with Fox. "I am sure it will be fine. I don't understand what's going on. When it's all over, we'll figure it out."

    Waltrip is one of Toyota's flagship teams as the Japanese manufacturer begins its first season in Nextel Cup. It is a big blow for Waltrip's race team as it prepares for next Sunday's race.

    According to Michael Waltrip Racing general manager Ty Norris, NASCAR had not told the team it had committed an infraction.

    "They just don't know what it is and they want to check it out," he said. "I haven't even seen it. It's in a plastic bag. You can't be found guilty if you don't know what it is."

    In 2005, Robby Gordon's crew chief was fined $50,000 and the team was docked 25 car owner points for an unapproved intake manifold found in inspections at Daytona.

    Last year, Jimmie Johnson's Chevrolet Monte Carlo failed post-qualifying technical inspection. Crew chief Chad Knaus was suspended for four races, including the Daytona 500 - which Johnson won anyway.

  6. #36
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Penalties likely for Kahne, Kenseth teams

    I can't wait to see how this is handled. Knaus had been in trouble before he was suspended but I don't remember Reiser or Francis ever being in the dog house.
    Penalties likely for Kahne, Kenseth teams
    By Terry Blount

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The crew chiefs for Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne could face ejection from the Daytona 500 after NASCAR officials discovered unapproved alterations during Sunday's post-qualifying inspection.

    Robbie Reiser is Kenseth's crew chief on the No. 17 Ford. Kenny Francis has the same responsibilities for Kahne's No. 9 Dodge, but is called the team director.

    A similar situation a year ago brought a four-race suspension and a $25,000 fine for Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson.

    NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said the alterations by Reiser and Francis were considered as blatant as the device found on Johnson's car to adjust the height of the rear window.

    Ray Evernham, who owns Kahne's car, denied the infraction was intentional.

    "I don't have all the information and I can't comment just yet," Evernham told ESPN.com. "I want to talk to Kenny some more tomorrow to understand what the motivation was [for the way the car was set up].

    "The one thing I will say is not anybody intentionally tried to break the rules. Kenny has never done anything before. Not at all. We normally play by whatever the rules we're given."

    It also was a controversial Cup beginning for Toyota, which had one of its cars go to NASCAR's version of the penalty box.

    NASCAR impounded the No. 55 NAPA Toyota of driver/owner Michael Waltrip after qualifying. NASCAR officials confiscated the intake manifold off Waltrip's Camry during a prequalifying inspection.

    NASCAR officials don't know if Waltrip's car is illegal, but they do know Kenseth's and Kahne's cars were.

    The qualifying times for both drivers were disallowed because inspections found unapproved changes to the body of both cars. Kenseth was 11th and Kahne was 28th in the qualifying speeds.

    Hunter said penalties will follow for both teams, probably in an announcement on Monday.

    "We found unapproved devices that enhanced the aerodynamics of those cars," Hunter said. "There were holes where it was supposed to be sealed. One of the cars had holes in the wheel well."

    Both cars will be allowed to start at the back of the second Gatorade Duel qualifying race on Thursday. Both teams are guaranteed a spot in the Daytona 500 because they were among the top 35 teams in points last year.

    Waltrip's fate is up in the air. Hunter said NASCAR officials decided to impound the car before qualifying, but allowed Waltrip to make a qualifying run after placing a new manifold on the car.

    Now NASCAR officials will inspect the entire car to determine if any violations exist.

    "Our inspectors will go over that car a with a fine-tooth comb," Hunter said. "I don't know how long we will keep it. As of right now, we do not know that the manifold is illegal, but we want to know."

    Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's director of competition, said officials sent the manifold to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for testing Monday.

    "Our inspector caught a substance inside that we didn't really know what it was," Pemberton said about the manifold.

    Pemberton wouldn't give specifics about the problem, but Waltrip said inspectors found oil inside the manifold.

    "And it's not supposed to be there," Waltrip said. "So they took it to see why the oil was there.

    "I don't really understand what is going on, and people here a lot smarter than me don't understand it either, but we'll figure it out. I'm sure it'll be fine."

    Hunter wasn't buying Waltrip's explanation. "Our inspection team was not comfortable that it was oil," Hunter said.

    Before the 2005 Daytona 500, Robby Gordon's crew chief was fined $50,000 and the team was docked 25 car owner points for an unapproved intake manifold that inspectors discovered.

    Waltrip is one of three team owners for Toyota's debut season in Nextel Cup. He has a three-car team that includes Dale Jarrett in the No. 44 UPS Camry and rookie David Reutimann in the No. 00 Domino's Toyota.

    Reutimann was the fastest Toyota in qualifying at 14th. He turned a lap at 184.419 mph. Waltrip was 24th, at 183.899. Jarrett was 48th in qualifying with a lap at 182.061 mph.

    Pemberton said the situation with the No. 55 problem was not specific to any individual manufacturer.

    Hunter has been involved in NASCAR for more than 40 years. He's seen it all, but said Sunday's situation surprised him after what happened with Knaus a year ago.

    "But by the same token, I think our inspection process gets better every year," Hunter said. "We are committed to try to stop all the games being played."

  7. #37
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    From Jayski's.com. No penalty, fine or suspension for Waltrip?
    Penalties Announced: 4 Crew Chiefs Suspended, Fines, Points Taken Away: NASCAR announced Tuesday that four Nextel Cup Series crew chiefs have been suspended from competition, starting with Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500. Two of the four – Ken Francis, crew chief for the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne; and Robbie Reiser, crew chief for the #17 Ford of Matt Kenseth – have been suspended for four races and fined $50,000. Also, Kahne and Kenseth were penalized with the loss of 50 driver championship points while their car owners, Ray Evernham and Jack Roush, were penalized 50 car owner championship points. The violations by the #9 and #17 teams were found during post-qualifying inspection on Feb. 11. Both teams’ qualifying times were disallowed. Two others – Rodney Childers, crew chief for the #10 Dodge driven by Scott Riggs; and Josh Browne, crew chief for the #19 Dodge driven by Elliott Sadler – have been suspended for two races and fined $25,000. In addition, Riggs and Sadler were penalized 25 driver championship points while their car owners, James Rocco and Evernham, were penalized 25 car owner championship points. The violations by the #10 and #19 teams were found prior to qualifying. In each instance the violations were of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing), 12-4-Q (car, car parts components and/or equipment not conforming to NASCAR rules) and 20-2.1E (unapproved aerodynamic modification) of the series rule book.(NASCAR PR)(2-13-2007)

  8. #38
    a jumble of useless facts gracie's Avatar
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    The article I read said they haven't decided yet on Waltrip's penalty. It's going to be hard starting out in the red this season for those teams.
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  9. #39
    Premium Member glennajo's Avatar
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    Waltrip's crew chief thrown out for illegal substance

    DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The Daytona 500 is supposed to be a NASCAR celebration. A cheating scandal has made it a mockery.

    Five teams have been busted for breaking the rules, including two-time winner Michael Waltrip, who humiliated Toyota by flagrantly violating the code of NASCAR's garage in the Japanese automaker's debut.

    Waltrip lost two key crew members Wednesday when NASCAR penalized his team for using a fuel additive in preparations for the Super Bowl of racing. It continued a weeklong crackdown on cheating by a sanctioning body fed up with teams' continued attempts to flout the rule book.

    "It's been rough on everybody; we're here to celebrate a race," said NASCAR competition director Robin Pemberton. "Instead, we're busy dealing with all of this."

    Waltrip's crew chief and team director were suspended indefinitely after a fuel additive was found during inspection. But Waltrip, docked 100 points, will be allowed to participate in Thursday's races that determine the field for the 500.

    David Hyder, his crew chief, was thrown out of the garage and fined $100,000 - the largest monetary fine in NASCAR history. Team director Bobby Kennedy also was kicked out.

    Waltrip said he was "so sad and embarrassed," but tried to shift blame to an unidentified individual within his team.

    "This is not the action of an organization, a manufacturer or a sponsor," Waltrip said in a statement. "This was an independent act done without consent or authorization from me or any of my executive management team."

    The scandal rocked the Toyota group, which now is wondering whether it aligned itself with the right people.

    "We will have some further discussions with that team and decide what our relationship is going to be in the future," said Lee White, general manager of Toyota Racing Development, even before NASCAR announced the penalties. "We hold our own people to a very high standard, and certainly we hope that we've partnered with the right people."

    Waltrip's penalties came one day after the crew chiefs for 2003 champion Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Scott Riggs and Elliott Sadler all were suspended. All five drivers also were docked points in an unprecedented move by NASCAR, which never before had taken points before the season.

    NASCAR officials would not reveal what they found in Waltrip's intake manifold, but a person with knowledge of the investigation told The Associated Press it was a property contained in jet fuel. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the details.

    Pemberton said only that the substance was not jet fuel itself.

    "We're not going to go into any great detail, but it was a foreign substance that we feel should not have been inside the engine, and we'll leave it at that," Pemberton said.

    The substance was found during Sunday's inspection. Adding the substance, described by NASCAR as an oxygenate, would boost the octane in the fuel, thus making the engine run better at higher horsepower.

    Pemberton said the substance was discovered when a NASCAR official reached his hand into the manifold to feel for loose parts.

    "When he brought his hand out, there was a substance on there that was unlike anything he had ever seen in the inspection line before," Pemberton said.

    Some rival team members said they thought NASCAR should have taken away more points from Waltrip's team, because in a sport where cheating is common, tampering with the fuel is a major no-no.

    "Throughout the garage area I think everybody knows you don't mess around with tires, you don't mess around with the engine, the restrictor plates," Pemberton said. "Those things are very taboo."

    Statement from Waltrip:
    "In the past 12 months, Michael Waltrip Racing has hired more than 150 people and we currently employ more than 200. Although we have grown at an accelerated pace, it has been our mission to hire people with high moral value and character to properly represent our sponsors and our ownership. "During preparations for the 2007 season and especially the 2007 Daytona 500, I specifically requested that our competition teams not disrespect NASCAR, our competitors or our sponsors by blatantly circumventing the rules.

    "This is not the action of an organization, a manufacturer or a sponsor. This was an independent act done without consent or authorization from me or any of my executive management team. As an owner, I realize I am ultimately held responsible for the actions of my employees. Therefore, I accept the penalties issued tonight by NASCAR.

    "I respect NASCAR's rules, its people and the sport's integrity, which is why I am so sad and embarrassed. I am dedicated to get to the bottom of this because I will not let the independent act of an individual or individuals tarnish the incredible accomplishment my organization has made to be where we are today.

    "I want to apologize to the other owners, who know how hard I've worked to get here in such a short period of time, NASCAR, Toyota, NAPA, all my sponsors, the drivers and especially the fans."

    I feel bad for Michael Waltrip. I may be wrong here, but he seems like such a nice, honest man. I can't see him knowing about this or allowing this. On the other hand, he is under a lot of pressure to perform well for Toyota. Michael is someone I have always liked and admired in Nascar. I guess I just don't want to believe he had anything to do with this.

  10. #40
    That's all folks! Unklescott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glennajo;2242085;
    Michael is someone I have always liked and admired in Nascar. I guess I just don't want to believe he had anything to do with this.
    I have to agree with you glennajo. I saw a press conference and he said the hardest part was when his 9 year old daughter asked why he was cheating.

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